ATLANTA, Nov. 8, 2017 – In 1941, Coca‑Cola President Robert Woodruff pledged that “every man in uniform gets a bottle of Coca‑Cola for five cents wherever he is and whatever it costs the company.” Today, in honor of Veterans Day, The Coca‑Cola Foundation is continuing this time-honored tradition of support for U.S. service members by awarding $1 million in grants to 11 organizations that serve more than 75,000 veterans and their families across the country.
These organizations offer a wide range of programs designed to assist veterans through every step of their return home, from covering their immediate financial needs to job skills training to community service and leadership programs. The Coca‑Cola Foundation grant recipients include: American Corporate Partners; American Red Cross; Folds of Honor Foundation; FourBlock Foundation; Hire Heroes USA; Operation Homefront, Inc.; Team Rubicon; The Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation; The Mission Continues; United Service Organizations (USO) and United Spinal Association.
“We are grateful to our U.S. military servicemen and women, veterans and their families who bravely serve our country,” said Helen Smith Price, president, The Coca‑Cola Foundation. “Our grants help complete the cycle of support for our U.S. military, starting with their time in active duty and continuing once they return home so that they can thrive and continue to use their skills to serve their community. Each program we are supporting meets a different need and helps veterans and their families with their transition home.”
This week, The Coca‑Cola Company is honoring veterans with special events at its Atlanta headquarters to shine a light on military men and women and their families who represent an inspiring community of unsung American heroes. A celebration on Nov. 10 will feature guest speaker Dr. Jill Biden, lifelong educator and Second Lady of the United States (2009-2017); The Coca‑Cola Foundation grant recipients; and entertainment from the American Military Spouses Choir. Coca‑Cola associates also will volunteer to assemble more than 10,000 care packages for service members overseas in partnership with the USO.
As a military mother, Dr. Biden has brought significant attention to the sacrifices of military families, in part through her and former First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Joining Forces” initiative to support military families worldwide. Dr. Biden and Vice President Joe Biden also launched the Biden Foundation in 2017, continuing their work to support military families.
“Organizations like those being recognized by The Coca‑Cola Foundation provide veterans and families with the tools, skills and guidance they need to help them get reacquainted with their community and with civilian life,” said Dr. Biden. “We all have a role to play in helping our veterans with this transition – from volunteering with one of many organizations supporting veterans to just being good neighbors in our communities.”
Local Coca‑Cola bottlers across the country also are supporting activities to honor Coca‑Cola associates who are veterans, as well as active duty and veteran men and women from their communities. For example, throughout the summer and fall, Coca‑Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, based in Charlotte, N.C., invited local residents, customers and teammates in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., Charlotte, Raleigh and Baltimore to hand-write messages of support and encouragement for our armed forces. Through the “Message in a Bottle” program, nearly 2,000 messages are being delivered by the USO to active-duty military in 253-ml Coca‑Cola bottles.
Coca‑Cola’s connection to veterans spans the world. The Coca‑Cola system employs approximately 4,000 U.S. military veterans, and more than 2 million beverages are served each day to active-duty members of the armed forces, reservists, retirees and their families.
· American Corporate Partners: The Coca‑Cola Foundation grant will support ACP’s Mentoring Program that assists veterans on their path towards fulfilling, long-term careers by connecting service members with corporate professionals for yearlong, customized mentorships. The grant also supports ACP’s Women’s Veteran Mentoring Program, which matches female veterans with female business leaders to discuss the unique challenges they face during career and military transition. Additionally, female veteran participants have access to exclusive networking events and career development workshops.
· American Red Cross: The Coca‑Cola Foundation grant will focus on strengthening the capacity of service members, veterans and their families to cope with the unique demands of military life by building positive coping skills and self-care techniques.
· Folds of Honor Foundation: The Coca‑Cola Foundation grant will provide $5,000 Coca‑Cola First Generation Scholarships to 10 military dependents attending or accepted into an accredited 2 or 4-year degree program or vocational certificate program.
· FourBlock Foundation: The Coca‑Cola Foundation grant will support the Career Readiness Program, providing veterans professional development, career exploration, and networking opportunities to make them competitive after transition from military to professional careers in Atlanta, Tampa and Orlando.
· Hire Heroes USA: The Coca‑Cola Foundation grant will support free, one-on-one career coaching services for transitioning military members, unemployed and underemployed veterans, and military spouses that include resume, interview and networking assistance; federal sector help; mock interviews; and job sourcing in addition to virtual career fairs and an exclusive job board featuring thousands of career opportunities every month.
· Operation Homefront, Inc.: The Coca‑Cola Foundation grant will help provide critical financial assistance to military families, including assistance with rent or mortgage payments, utilities, car repairs, home repairs, essential baby items, groceries and other urgent needs.
· Team Rubicon: The Coca‑Cola Foundation grant will help develop competent professionals capable of competing in the civilian workforce, as well as foster strong leaders within the military veterans and first responders of Team Rubicon.
· The Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation: The Coca‑Cola Foundation grant will support the Military Heroes Fund which provides wounded veterans, military families, and caregivers with financial assistance and support to secure a home, or keep their home, car, and job in Charlotte, Los Angeles and Puerto Rico.
· The Mission Continues: The Coca‑Cola Foundation grant will support a program that empowers veterans to become community leaders by deploying veteran volunteers alongside non-profit partners and community leaders in cities across the country to solve issues facing their communities: improving community education resources, eliminating food deserts, mentoring at-risk youth, and more.
· United Service Organizations (USO): The Coca‑Cola Foundation grant will support the expansion of the USO PathfinderSM program, which offers transition services to help support 200,000+ service members and their families who leave the military each year. The Pathfinder program extends the USO’s mission of connection by assisting service members and their families in achieving their personal and professional goals as they transition from military service and return home to their new communities.
· United Spinal Association: The Coca‑Cola Foundation grant will support the VetsFirst program, a free online resource hub and call center that provides guidance and support to all veterans - regardless of disability.
The Coca‑Cola Foundation is the global philanthropic arm of The Coca‑Cola Company. Since its inception in 1984, the Foundation has awarded more than $900 million in grants to support sustainable community initiatives around the world. For more information about The Coca‑Cola Foundation, please visit www.coca-cola/givingback.com.
The Coca‑Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world’s largest total beverage company, offering over 500 brands to people in more than 200 countries. Of our 21 billion-dollar brands, 19 are available in lower- and no-sugar options to help people everywhere more easily control added sugar. In addition to our namesake Coca‑Cola drinks, some of our household names around the world include: AdeS soy-based beverages, Ayataka green tea, Dasani waters, Del Valle juices and nectars, Fanta, Georgia coffee, Gold Peak teas and coffees, Honest Tea, Minute Maid juices, Powerade sports drinks, Simply juices, smartwater, Sprite, vitaminwater and Zico coconut water. At Coca‑Cola, we’re serious about making positive contributions to our world. That starts with reducing sugar in our drinks and bringing new and different drinks to people everywhere. It also means continuously working to reduce our environmental impact, creating rewarding careers for our associates, and bringing economic opportunity wherever we operate. In fact, together with our bottling partners, we employ more than 700,000 people around the world. For more information, visit www.coca-colacompany.com and follow The Coca‑Cola Company on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.